A 25-year-old man wanted for questioning in the 160,000-acre Station Fire, which raged in August and September and was only fully contained Friday, has been arrested in connection with a smaller, nearby fire that burned in August, Sgt. David Infante of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reported today.
The man, Babatunsin Olukunle of Nigeria, had his mug posted on wanted fliers for his possible role in the Station Fire, which claimed the lives of two firefighters who died when the fire truck they in were rolled down an embankment as flames raged toward the pair. Deputies caught up with suspect Thursday, Infante reports.
On Aug. 20, six days before the start of the Station Fire, the suspect was allegedly caught sparking a small blaze near the “Lady Bug” turnout on Angeles Crest Highway — also in the Angeles National Forest. Authorities are keeping him based on that allegation, but they want to question him in the spectacular Station Fire, the largest in county history.
Olukunle was arraigned today in county superior court in Pasadena. He faced a charge of causing a fire — the Aug. 20 blaze — on forest land.
Authorities believe the Station Fire — which spread from the city of Los Angeles in the northeast San Fernando Valley deep into the National Angeles Forest above Glendora — was deliberately set and have offered $150,000 for the arrest and conviction of whoever started the blaze. The probe is not only an arson inquiry but also a homicide investigation because of the deaths of the two firefighters.